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Just One Dinner in Atlanta

We have one night to eat in Atlanta in a few weeks and are looking for the perfect pick. We are staying in Norcross but are willing to drive. We are three foodies in our 40s with a teenage girl in tow. Nothing too expensive -- looking for an upscale/casual atmosphere with good local food. Southern or any other American regional would be preferred over most ethnic cuisines. Got any ideas for us?

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  1. I'd vote for Floataway Cafe or Woodfire Grill, both make excellent use of fresh local ingredients. Both are in town, with Floataway being a bit hard to find.

    Watershed would be another good choice, bit further away in Decatur. Check out their menus to see what floats your boat.

    3 Replies
    1. re: biskuit

      I would say Element in midtown on west peachtree st. Richard Blaise is the chef. Molecular Gastronomy at its finest. It was juct reviewed in AJC and Creative Loafing. Everything is awesome. This is the one you want.

      1. re: jgraben

        If someone is looking for an adventurous, intriguing, delicious meal, you're right on with Element. There is nothing else like it in Atlanta, or in most of the country outside of New York and Chicago for that matter.

        I didn't quite get that feel from the way the question was asked, though, thus the more "traditional" suggestions of Floataway and Woodfire. You can definitely eat well at Element even if you don't go for the more adventurous offerings, but to really get the most out of it, you have to be willing to put your trust in the very talented hands of the chef Blais and the kitchen.

      2. re: biskuit

        Here's another one to add to the mix - Haven Restaurant in Brookhaven. It's a great combo of an upscale neighborhood place with a great menu and an upscale/casual feel to it that your teenager would probably feel comfortable - you can check out the menu/info at www.havenrestaurant.com. I also really like Woodfire Grill and think that Horseradish Grill is a great sampler of Southern Cuisine in a great atmosphere. All are very convenient to Buckhead. Enjoy your visit!

      3. I would say Horseradish Grill, Murphy's, Sotto Sotto all have that casual elegance you're looking for.

        1. I would definitely agree with Floataway and Woodfire, two of my favorites. There is a fun place called Shorty's Pub with one in Tucker and the other on North Druid Hills Rd. It's pizza and salads and the best guacamole in town.

          1. Smokejack in Alpharetta does upscale barbecue - wonderful ribs, pulled pork, brisket, etc., but also more refined dishes and a full bar. It's too bad you don't want ethnic cuisine, though, because from Norcross you can ride right down Buford Hwy for an out-of-this-country experience!

            3 Replies
            1. re: ljt

              OK, so you have me curious: What might that out-of-this-country experience be? The only reason I said no ethnic is that I was worried about the picky teenager and we thought Southern/American might capture the essence of Atlanta better — but do tell!

              1. re: jaschultze

                There are probably hundreds of vietnamese, korean, mexican, and other "ethnic" restaurants on buford highway between Lenox Rd and up past I-285 (peruvian, bangladeshi, sichuan, shanghai, etc.). You can eat very well very inexpensively at a number of places. None of them individually are the essence of Atlanta, but in totality, they show the diversity of options available all along one street that stretches north from in town to out. For one night out in Atlanta, I wouldn't suggest it, but if you're craving a particular cuisine, it's a great place to explore.

                1. re: biskuit

                  Biskuit sums it up very well - that whole stretch is a myriad of ethnic shops, restaurants, etc. representing all kinds of cultures. Some of the places are daunting if you don't speak the language, and I'm sure some are just bad, but offhand I can think of good Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese restaurants that are accessible to everyone.

            2. You might also try Wisteria in Virginian Highlands. Near Norcross in Duluth is a nice place called Sia's.